In May 2017 it hit me that I had spent the last year and a half in a full-time salaried position, plus 9 years before that working for money. Yet, I had no idea what my income had brought me. I wasn’t saving for retirement, I didn’t have a freedom fund, and I still had student loans! Where was all the money I had ever made? Was I spending based on my values?
This prompted me to start tracking every single purchase. I wanted to know exactly where my money was going. I wanted to start building wealth, but in order to start, I needed to understand my spending trends.
“You’re being so smart. Don’t move out until you have enough for a mortgage!”
“You’re so lucky to have parents’ that live so close.”
“Oh my, I’d have all debts paid off I lived with my parents!”
Well, most of the time I strongly agree with these statements. I mean, let’s be real, moving back in with your parents isn’t so bad when they live in the suburbs of a major metropolitan city, there’s public transportation only a few steps away, and they love and accept you.
But now that summer is officially over and traffic is back to miserable, my commute is getting the best of me. My patience is running out and I have never been more ready to GTFO. Time is money, so why am I okay justifying a two-hour commute for my savings?
This question always generates an eye-roll from Ari because I ask him and myself it all the time. With all the life goals I have — road trip across the US, pay off student loans, make a movie, move into a Brooklyn apartment with Ari, fully fund my “Freedom To Choose” account, become a CFP, buy a home in the suburbs — it’s been hard to pinpoint where I want to be next month, year or five years.
All these goals require cash but can I save for all of them at the same time? Sureeee, except it will definitely be a while before I reach them. Instead, I need to focus on those that are of most importance. Because let’s be real, my road trip across the US will be more enjoyable if I have a safety net and ZERO debt.
Last month I participated in Plastic Free July (PFJ), an annual challenge to reduce and educate people on plastic’s harmful effects on our environment. While I’m already working to reduce my waste year-round, I have never participated in PFJ or publicly held myself accountable for minimizing my plastic. It wasn’t as easy as I initially thought, I had to say no to some of my food cravings and had to think twice before leaving the house. Though I did not fully refrain from buying plastic, I definitely consumed less than I normally would.